Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Smith's Sacred Singers, Part 2 (1926-1929)

More classic country gospel from the early days of electrical recording.  Eight tracks this time (last time, I posted twelve)--as before, ripped and restored by me from my out-of-control collection.  Digging through my old songbooks and Google-searching, I was able to find composer and year info for five of them, partial info for another, and no data at all for City of Gold and Jesus Died for Me.  I must have encountered six or seven hymns entitled City of Gold, but not the one sung by Smith and Co.

Here's the song info:

Climbing Up the Golden Stairs (w: George W. Sebren; m: George W. and Arthur B. Sebren, 1905)
City of Gold
Jesus Died for Me
Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb (w/m: Elisha A. Hoffman, 1878)
Hold to God's Unchanging Hand (w: Jennie Wilson; m:Franklin L. Eiland, 1906)
Waiting on the Golden Shore (w: William M. Ramsey; m:?; 1916?)
Life's Railway to Heaven (w: Eliza R. Snow & M. E. Abbey; m: Charles D. Tillman, 1890)
Jesus Prayed (w: E.M. Barlett; m: J.M. Henson, 1923)

Climbing Up the Golden Stairs has no "Up" in the original title, and Jesus Prayed is actually He Prayed.  The Columbia label's song research department must have been a real pro operation....

Last time, I described an "answer" chorus, but then realized that was my own personal term for gospel quartet antiphony.  So I changed "answer" to "echo," a term actually used back in the day.  Most of these tracks have antiphonal choruses, with the one in Jesus Died for Me especially cool (though it's kind of a rehash of the 1857 Church in the Wildwood refrain). The chorus of Waiting on the Golden Shore, meanwhile, is more complex, with its responsive singing happening in spurts, a la He Will Set Your Fields on Fire, and I'll wager I'm the first person ever to type "response singing happening in spurts."  The most complex answer/echo/response/antiphonal gospel chorus I've ever heard happens on/in His Charming Love, a gospel number scheduled for a future tune, so stay posted. Er, I mean, scheduled for a future post, so stay tuned.

When my brother and I were kids, we thought "stay tuned" was a single word.  And we heard it as "stachuned."  We thought TV announcers were asking us to "stachuned" for The Man from U.N.C.L.E. or Green Acres.  (We got the meaning, however.)  Oh, and we also thought "under arrest" was a single word.  As in, people getting "under-arrested."  Kids.  When our grandma said a cop had "pinched" her, we looked for the bruise.  But back to the post....

I have a theory--merely a guess--that gospel-style antiphony is a remnant of the "fuging" sections  found in late 18th-century hymns and anthems, since they do sort of function the same way.  This is pure supposition on my part--hence, the preponderance of qualifiers ("merely a guess," "sort of").  Bold claims have a way of going "poof" upon closer examination, unless they're being made by Donald Trump, in which case their momentum grows the more they are refuted.

To the music: Smith's Sacred Singers, Part 2


Climbing Up the Golden Stairs--Columbia 15195-D (1927)
City of Gold--Columbia 15195-D (1927)
Jesus Died for Me--Columbia 15430-D (1929)
Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb--Columbia 15430-D (1929)
Hold to God's Unchanging Hand--Columbia 15308-D (1928)
Waiting on the Golden Shore--Columbia 15308-D (1928)
Life's Railway to Heaven--Columbia 15159-D (1927)
Jesus Prayed--Columbia 15159-D (1926)


Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Presidents Day, 2016!

To celebrate Presidents Day (or is it Presidents' Day?), here are five 78s from my collection that do the job.  All ripped and edited by me using MAGIX Audio Cleaner MX.

George M. Cohan's Father of the Land We Love was written in 1932 (the sheet music states, "To Commemorate the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of George Washington"--see comments); Lee Sanford's Lincoln Centennial March in 1909; and William H. Woodin's Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, the same year Woodin served as Roosevelt's Secretary of the Treasury!  How about that?

To the zip file: Presidents Day 2016


Lincoln Centennial March (Sanford)--United States Marine Band, Dir. Wm. H. Santelmann, 1909.
Father of the Land We Love (Cohan)--Robert Hood Bowers & His Orch., 1932.
Medley of Washingtonian Songs--Robert Hood Bowers & His Orch., 1932.
National Melodies--Brunswick Military Band, 1933.
Franklin D. Roosevelt--March (Woodin)--Brunswick Military Band, 1933.


Monday, February 08, 2016

Smith's Sacred Singers, 1926-1930--Classic country gospel!

Terrific gospel sides by the terrific Smith's Sacred Singers, a quartet from North Carolina Georgia which was led by one J. Frank Smith.  Many familiar tunes here, and I've done my best to trace them to the actual authors and years--not an easy task, since most are associated with later, big-name recording artists.  For example, Pictures from Life's Other Side tends to be associated with Hank Williams, who, under the pseudonymn Luke the Drifter, narrated the song for MGM.  I've been tracking down Picture's history for quite a while, and all I know for sure is that it's pre-1900 and that no two published melodies are identical.  That, plus the title shows up in different forms (A Picture from..., for ex.).  Here's Wikipedia's take, which seems right: Pictures from Life's Other Side.  Below are scans from a turn of the century songster of the same name (!) which features the words only, credited to Charles E. Baer and copyrighted 1896 (which may simply be that particular publisher's year).  These are (mostly) the same words we hear on the Smith recording:


Pictures' lyrics are in the same socially progressive vein as those of Only a Tramp (a.k.a. Tramp on the Street) and Father's a Drunkard and Mother Is Dead, two other late nineteenth-century pop numbers that became gospel standards.

He Will Set Your Fields on Fire (w: L.L. Brackett; m: C.M. Ballew) is associated with Bill Monroe and Carl Story, but, obviously, the song predates their recordings.  I know nothing about its year of origin, save that it was no later than 1927 (the date of this 78)!  Fabulous song.

Meet Me There (w: Fanny J. Crosby; m: William Kirkpatrick, 1885).  Camp-meeting-style "answer" "echo" chorus and Crosby lyrics!  What more could anyone want?

Where We'll Never Grow Old (a.k.a. Never Grow Old) (w/m: Jas. C. Moore).  For background, here's a typically outstanding entry from the Internet's best website, Cyber Hymnal: Never Grow Old.  I had no idea the song was a lift!

When Jesus Comes (w/m: James W. Gaines, 1923)

Shouting on the Hills (a.k.a There'll Be Shouting) (w/m: E.M. Bartlett, 1925)

I Will Sing of My Redeemer (w: Philip P. Bliss, 1876; m: James McGranahan, 1877)

I Want to Go to Heaven (w/m:?).  I can find nothing on this!

We Shall Rise (a.k.a. Hallelujah, We Shall Rise) (w/m: John E. Thomas, 1904)

Working for the Crown (w: Mrs. H.A. Mabry; m: H.A.R. Horton, 1899)

Lord I'm Coming Home (w/m: William J. Kirkpatrick, 1892)

The Church in the Wildwood (a.k.a. Little Brown Church in the Vale) (w/m: William S. Pitts, 1857).  One of the most famous sacred choruses ever.

All 78s are from my collection, and ripped and restored with MAGIX Audio Cleaning Lab MX.  The sound quality ranges from so-so to very good.  Some of these needed a lot of work.  To the songs:

Click here to hear: Smith's Sacred Singers, 1926-1930


He Will Set Your Fields on Fire--Columbia 15144-D (1927)
Meet Me There--Columbia 15401 (1929)
Pictures from Life's Other Side--Columbia 15090-D (1926)
Where We'll Never Grow Old--Same
When Jesus Comes--Columbia 15371-D (1928)
Shouting on the Hills--Columbia 15110-D (1926)
I Will Sing of My Redeemer--Columbia 15144-D (1927)
I Want to Go to Heaven--Columbia 15230-D (1927)
We Shall Rise--Same
Working for the Crown--Columbia 15401-D (1929)
Lord I'm Coming Home--Columbia 15371-D (1928)
The Church in the Wildwood--Columbia 15551-D (1930)